Summary: Are we ready for the catch God would send our way?
DEALING WITH FULL NETS
by Mike Kern
We went out recently to catch crawdads. I took along my fishing net to make it easier. However, the first few crawdads I caught seemed to disappear before I got them back to shore and I couldn’t understand why. Finally, after losing several crawdads, I discovered that the little guys were backing right through the holes in the net and dropping back into the water within seconds of my scooping them up. How frustrating and useless is a fishing net that doesn’t hold fish (or crawdads, or whatever you’re catching.) This is why, in the text we’re about to read we find James and John mending their nets. Their livelyhood depended on catching fish and they understood that to accomplish that, the nets have to be intact.
18 And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 Then He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." 20 They immediately left their nets and followed Him. 21 Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. And He called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.
I. The Net of the Church
A. FISHERS OF MEN
The Christian is a fisherman by trade. Matt 4:19 Then He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." Every single man or woman of God in this place is called to fish… and what the church is: the net. This is what a church is. You witness, evangelize, lead people to Christ… but the church is the net that brings the fish together into a place where their lives can be radically altered. Rather than simply give people a salvation experience and send them swimming on their way, the church is the net that seeks to hold them and keep them in a personal relationship with God Himself, immersing people in the preservative power of His presence and His family.
44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. 46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
Here we see the net at work. Revival is happening, people are being saved right and left, and the church is the net. The Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. Note: It doesn’t necessarily say they were saved at church, but the church is still the net that keeps them. Look at the tightness of the congregation. The Bible says they were together, had all things in common, divided their possessions and goods among anyone who had need, worshipping together, fellowshipping together… A tightly woven net if ever there was one.
See the church is the net, but you and I are the individual strands. We are not just a bunch of individual Christians who meet together three times a week because we happen to attend the same church. We are the church, together. And we need to make sure, tonight, that the net is in good shape because, as we’ll see in God’s Word, He has a habit of filling the nets that are cast for souls!
B. A TIME OF REAPING
Eccl 3:1-2 1 To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted;
There is a time for sowing… and a time for reaping. I believe America is entering into a time of reaping. Our cities and our neighborhoods are indeed fields white unto the harvest.
The Israelites never served God in times of prosperity. They became self-centered and greedy. Their focus drifted from the will of God to the lusts of their own flesh. What a description of our nation for the last fifty years! Karl Marx said, “God is dead,” and this country has been living like they believed it.
What always reunited the Israelites with their God was when the bottom dropped out on their lives. Great famine and pestilence, horrible plagues, and many times, invasion by enemy forces all served to grab Israel’s attention and bring them back into the safe haven of God’s will.